By Marie DeFreitas
At least 50 people on an island on Lake Chad have been killed. The killers are suspected Boko militants, a local official told BBC.
The area is bordered by Cameroon and Chad. The attack occurred on December 22nd, but because the area is so remote, the news is only now coming out. It is believed that militants disguised as traders had attacked fishermen, local mayor Ali Ramat said, quoting a survivor.
Boko Haram formed in Nigeria in 2009. It has since spread its activities to neighbouring Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
According to BBC, Mr Ramat, the mayor of Darak in Cameroon’s Far North Region, said that among those killed were at least 20 Cameroonians. An unknown number of people are still unaccounted for, he said.
The deceased are believed to be a mixture of nationalities, some of whom had been fishing on the lake.
BBC’s Killian Chimtom in Cameroon reported in late December that local community members sent a search party to the area of the attack. They later found dead bodies floating in the water.
Regional Governor Midjiyawa Bakary confirmed that the attack had happened.
Mayor Ramat said that since Chadian soldiers stopped patrolling the area, it had become a hotspot for Boko Haram attacks. He told the BBC that the Multi-National Joint Task Force – a five-nation regional military force from the countries of the Lake Chad Basin – was ill equipped to patrol the area.